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Tales From Mithila - Dashmi

या देवी सर्वभूतेषु शक्ति-रूपेण संस्थिता। नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमस्तस्यै नमो नमः॥ The auspicious days of Navratri have begun where the nine forms of the divine feminine will be worshiped, one on each day. Mithila has a thriving ancient tradition of "Shakti-pooja". Every Hindu family worships Shakti as "Bhagwati", "Gosawni", "Kaali", "Taara" or "Durga". For us, Goddess worshiping is not only limited to these nine days. Usually, every Hindu family revers Bhagvati as their कुलदेवी (Goddess of the clan), and their days normally start with Pooja. But this is the period when the devotion intensifies many folds. With the chants of "दुर्गापाठ" in the neighborhood, "हरसिंघार" (Night Jasmine) blooming around, and the air laced with hints of "dhoop-deep"; the whole atmosphere feels so pleasant and heart experiences inexplicable joy. Every day during Navratri, in the evening scores of folks reach "दुर्गास्थान" (Durgasthan) to light freshly made earthen lamps for Devi. Oh! How vibrant the place looks with hundreds and thousands of these glowing golden little lamps! As I have been away from my hometown, I miss this ritual of making and lighting diyas in Navratri. Another thing which I miss dearly is having the prasad made of "green grams, wheat flour and jaggery" used to arrive from the nearby Durgasthan. For us, Durga is "Maiyya", "Maa" or "Durga Mai" and I love calling her just that. It's considered that "Durga Mai" visits her "नहिरा" (Paternal Home) for these nine days every year. On the ninth day of Pooja, a ritual called "खोइंछा भरना" (khoichha bharna) is performed which is to prepare for Devi's departure from her Father's home, same as it's done for their married daughters return when they come visiting from their husband's home. In the Mithila region, devotion is still the most prominent aspect of people's life. "Dashmi" is a day of extreme emotions when we offer दही-चूड़ा (Sweet curd with flattened rice) to "Maiyya" and she starts her journey back. In her memory, we lovingly draw her in red ink on the walls of our house and wait eagerly till she returns next year. सर्वमंगल मांगल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थ साधिके। शरण्ये त्र्यंबके गौरी नारायणि नमोस्तुते॥